Whether you’re a veteran holistic mama, or you’re just getting started on your natural health journey, essential oils are the Holy Grail of any naturally minded mama’s medicine cabinet. It’s no wonder that the use of these miracle oils have created a buzz in alternative medicine in recent years, and for good reason, too. The health benefits of essential oils go as far back as Ancient Egypt, and something as old as civilization itself deserves recognition, don’t you think? If you’re a newbie and feeling a little overwhelmed on what to buy first, here’s a list of a few must-have oils to get you started on your essential oil journey.
Used in ancient Chinese medicine, lemon oil is an often under-rated, yet powerful oil that acts as a natural mood enhancer, thanks to the compound d-limonene. It also performs as an antihistamine for seasonal allergies, so put that Zyrtec down, people. I know, I get it. Old habits die hard. But I’m telling you, this stuff works. For real.
Another mighty little perk is that, due to its ability to eliminate mucus, lemon oil relieves congestion when diluted with a carrier oil and applied topically to the chest area. Because of its sharp, invigorating scent, it combats nausea and is safe enough to use during pregnancy.
Another added bonus is that it naturally boosts your immune system, plus it makes a great household cleaner, as well. Just add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with half vinegar and half water and go to town on your counter tops while you inhale that refreshing and uplifting lemony scent.
It might be the most popular of all the oils, but don’t underestimate the beneficial properties of lavender. Once used in both Ancient Egypt and Rome, this fragrant oil promotes a calm, restful state when diffused or applied topically. It improves sleep, alleviates anxiety, and eases headaches, and has even been known to provide relief to people who are prone to migraines. It’s safe for the whole family to use, and it’s a handy oil to have around for minor cuts and burns. In fact, it’s a great oil to apply to those pesky summer sunburns, just mix a few drops with a carrier oil, such as sunflower or coconut oil.
Lavender also has the lesser known advantage of balancing blood sugar and it even has the ability to keep blood pressure stabilized. It’s also helpful for people who suffer from depression or PTSD. And last but not least it’s a welcome addition to any proper bubble bath. After all, the Latin meaning of lavender is “lavare,” which is Latin for “wash up,” and is exactly how the Romans used the oil. And as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do.
Don’t underestimate this tropical piece of fruit, because this powerful little oil packs quite a punch. Once valued by Nostradamus for its use in cosmetics, this invigorating oil was also used in Ancient Arabia to lighten hair color due to its peroxide effect when exposed to sunlight.
Orange has a stimulating effect with its tart, tangy scent and it can instantly reduce stress as it acts as a great mood enhancer. It also boosts immunity, making it a perfect oil to diffuse during flu season. Like lemon oil, it also acts as an antibacterial, which provides another great option for household cleaning.
Orange also works as an anti-inflammatory and can even reduce malignant tumor activity in the body. It can also improve digestion and can help ease constipation when applied topically to the abdomen area. It has detoxifying properties and can stimulate the lymphatic system, as well.
It can also increase circulation and lower blood pressure. Because of its rejuvenating properties, it makes a fabulous DIY body wash, as well. Just add about thirty drops of oil to a one-to-one solution of vegetable glycerin and liquid castile soap, plus a teaspoon or so of jojoba oil to create that silky spa-like feeling. I guarantee you’ll be flying out bed for those early morning on the run showers.
Back in the day, cedarwood oil was used in embalming practices in Ancient Egypt. Nowadays it’s often used as an anti fungal that treats skin infections such as acne or eczema. It’s also a great mood enhancer with its woodsy, comforting scent, and it’s safe for kids, as well.
If taken consistently, it can even help calm kids who have ADHD or other hyperactive behaviors by improving concentration. So if your kiddos have a hard time staying on task and need help focusing, make sure you have this powerful little oil on hand so that you can give them the boost they need to succeed. Cedarwood oil also works as a cough suppressant, so trash that Robitussin once and for all. I mean just toss it in the garbage even if it isn’t expired, right now, because whatever you have in your medicine cabinet has got nothing on cedarwood oil.
And not only is it safe for kids, it’s also perfectly safe for your canine companions, as well, and works as an excellent flea repellent. Just dilute it in a little spray bottle to use on your fur babies. They’ll thank you in their doggy way, I promise. So bust out whatever diffuser you happen to have, add a few drops of cedarwood oil, and enjoy it’s warm, soothing, yet invigorating scent.
Ah, the cooling and refreshing scent of peppermint. With its candy cane fragrance, peppermint invokes memories of Christmas for many people. This prolific and powerful oil has been used all through the ancient world. From Egypt to Greece to China and Japan, peppermint is even mentioned in the Bible as a form of currency. It’s invigorating scent provides immediate relief from nausea and can even help those who suffer from the debilitating effects of IBS. It’s also anti-microbial, making it a great ingredient to use in homemade toothpaste for its ability to combat bacteria and freshen breath.
Peppermint oil also improves mental clarity, and can even help reduce chronic fatigue symptoms. Because it’s a natural expectorant, it makes a wonderful remedy for upper respiratory infections. It’s a powerful antidote for those who tend to get bronchitis, just mix it with cedarwood oil and rub it liberally on the chest.
It’s also helpful for relieving seasonal allergies because of its ability to clear mucus and ease sinus pressure and is beneficial for headache relief, as well. Just rub a few drops mixed with a carrier oil on your temples, relax on your sofa, and feel all the stress and tension dissipate from your day. It also relieves pain associated with sore muscles, so feel free to use it for a deep tissue massage and let it melt away your worries of the day as it transports you to a state of deep relaxation. As you can see, there isn’t much this miraculous oil can’t do. Oh peppermint, how I love thee.
Not to be fooled by its name, Roman chamomile has been around long before the Roman empire, dating as far back as Ancient Egypt, and for good reason, too. It was traditionally used as a fever reducer and to improve skin health due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. With it’s fresh, slightly sweet and tangy scent, Chamomile invokes the feeling of biting into a tart green apple.
It’s also a great oil to use with children because it eases anxiety and promotes restful sleep. Like cedarwood, it’s a fabulous oil for those kids who struggle with hyperactivity. It’s also good for children who suffer from earaches, just rub a few drops mixed with a carrier oil around the troubled ear to reduce pain and promote a sense of calm to your little one.
Another added benefit of Roman chamomile is that it can be used topically on the abdomen to relieve various stomach ailments due to its antispasmodic qualities. Because it’s safe for the whole family, it can be used to prevent nausea during pregnancy. It also eases PMS symptoms like cramps and bloating.
Not only is it a great oil for those suffering from digestive upset, it’s also beneficial for people who have leaky gut. With its high levels of flavonoids, it even protects your heart. Just apply it topically to your chest area and soak in that peaceful, uplifting feeling of this powerful oil whose flowers were once seen blooming around Rome’s Colosseum.
One of my all time favorite oils, clary sage is an anti-microbial oil that can help improve skin infections, but that’s not all. This mighty little oil, referred to as “clear eye” in the Middle Ages, has been known to improve vision and strengthen hair, as well. It’s best known for balancing hormones, alleviating PMS symptoms and easing cramps due to its anti-spasmodic qualities and estrogenic effects on the body. Not to be taken during pregnancy due to its ability to cause uterine contractions, it is safe to use during labor and has been shown to reduce fear and pain associated with childbirth.
With it’s sharp, grassy scent, clary sage also relieves insomnia, so along with lavender and Roman chamomile, it’s another useful oil to keep on your nightstand to ensure a restful sleep. It can be used to treat anxiety as it promotes a sense of calm when diffused or applied topically. It’s also a natural antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties and even has the ability to lower cholesterol. Clary sage can even lower blood pressure and increase circulation in the blood, making it a fantastic oil to use for a healthy heart.
So there’s the run down on your must-have oils to keep on hand for emergencies and everything else in between. Just make sure that you get your oils from a trusted source so you can ensure that what you have is pure and unadulterated, just as it should be. When you start implementing high quality essential oils into your daily routine, I guarantee you’ll never want to go back to the drugstore shelves ever again.